Office Politics: Do the Bad Guys Ever Get Caught?

The client shook at he told me what had happened.  His boss had conspired with a Machiavellian co-worker to take him off an important project.  Once the boss had agreed the evil co-worker had hit reply all so that my client and others knew what had happened.   The boss looked more than foolish and very much the victim along with my client.  The now-virtuous evil one sees herself as simply having protected her interests.  The boss dare not punish her for –what?  Having outed the boss?  Not pretty.

Bad behavior in office politics - Do bad guys ever get caught?

Do the evil doers ever get what they deserve?  You bet — but not in a time frame the victims can cheer about or count on.  Justice delayed is not justice denied.   What tends to happen is classic office politics.  The evil one is isolated, ever so subtly.  She gets the same e-mails as everyone else but finds the meeting location changed last-minute and she doesn’t hear about the change so she arrives late.  No one knows how that happened, except one of the long-term support people who heard what the evil one did and can act independently.

The evil one’s power point presentation is hacked by nobody.  Someone in IT can do that without detection.  It will take six to 12 months for a successful set-up that gets rid of the evil doer.  If she’s really clever it could take 18 months before she’s forced out — the organizational version of homicide.

Is revenge really worth it?  Don’t think of it as revenge.  Think of it as the administration of justice.  Here’s the point:  when the boss behaved unethically the organization reacted — not verbally — but with action.  An ethical breach in the office frees others to do anything they can get away with to right the wrong.  The boss is toast but has a longer shelf life than the evil one.  Trust has been withdrawn by the managed but the boss won’t know it for months.  There are no better words to live by than, “If he’ll do it for you he’ll do it to you.”

Who knew office politics could be so dramatic and juicy?  Most people don’t know retribution unless it kicks them in the knee.  It happens.  Here’s what I told my client:  Decide on the outcome you want.  Don’t embarrass anyone — leave that to the admins because they can.  Ask the boss about the next hot project.  You will get the assignment.  Say nothing to anyone about what you think, thought, or feel.   Stand back and let the drama play out.  If you really can’t stand it, get a new job.  You will get an excellent reference.

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Related Posts:

My Enemies Are Proliferating

Joe Paterno and the Price of Silence

Patching Up An Office Spat

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Filed under Boomers, Millennials and GenX, Office Politics